Student Stories



Jasmine is the baby in her family. She has two older brothers and one sister. Her recollection of her parents is hazy. Her dad died when she was young. After that, her mom wasn’t around at all. “I’m sure mom was depressed about my dad, but that didn’t help us out at all, “she said. Growing up, Jasmine might as well have been invisible. There was no one there to take notice of her or care about what she did. She was able to stay out of trouble through middle school.

Jasmine never really liked high school, but she got by. She explained, “To get noticed you had to be on the AB honor roll or be involved in after school activities. That was never me. I felt like a wallflower. The school was supposed to be for smart kids, so they assumed you were smart.” Jasmine got discouraged when things got hard, but she kept trying. She knew that she could do the work. It was the getting there to do the work that was the issue. She wasn’t motivated and didn’t like getting up early. From ninth grade on, Jasmine’s grades deteriorated largely due to attendance. She went from missing a few days to being absent more than she was there.

In eleventh grade her life fell apart. Her grandmother died and that brought up bad feelings about her grandpa and her dad. On top of that, her boyfriend ended up going to jail. Jasmine just gave up on school. She stayed home with her nieces for a while. She told me there wasn’t a lot that could go wrong with little people. Jasmine had a lot of friends who wanted her to come back to school. They were concerned. “My friends in the neighborhood had all dropped out. I was kind of the shining example for them, but I wasn’t’ a very good example,” she remarked. Jasmine tried to go back to school, but her absences were so excessive she was kicked out. A friend suggested she look into Houston Can Academy, so she gave it a try.

Jasmine just eased her way into the school. She was quiet at first, but soon opened up. No one judged her, so she felt comfortable. She got a job at Subway after school and is determined to keep it till she finds a better one. “This school has really helped me improve the way I see myself. They not only look at what you do in class, they look at what you do in life”, she said. Jasmine never thought she would have a job and car payments at this age. She never thought she would be out of her mom’s house before she was twenty-five. “At Houston Can Academy they notice people for coming to school and trying, for accomplishing stuff, and for doing well on their TAKs tests. Sometimes being noticed is all a kid needs,” she confided. Jasmine is about to graduate. She’ll be able to hold her head high and think about what she wants to do with her life instead of how she’s going to make it through life.


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